Tuesday, October 13, 2009

10.7 Gordon Brown's eyes

Have you ever noticed that Mr Brown's left eye is slightly recessed and is in a down and out position?

He has lost his vision in the left eye from retinal detachment - after being kicked in the head while playing rugby at age 16. Several attempts at repairing this eye had failed. When the right eye started to show the same symptoms and signs of RD two years later, the re-attachment was quite successful.

A routine annual eye exam on Oct 10 reveals that Mr Brown's right eye has two small retinal tears. For now, ophthalmologists at Moorfield Hospital where Mr Brown was seen have decided to continue observation rather than perform an operation. Presumably, 3-7% of Brits walk around unaware of retinal tears in their eyes. Mr Brown insists that his eye sight has not deteriorated; although he does read texts with large prints.

Quite a few take-home lessons here:

(1) contrary to common belief, low vision in fact does not affect a person's capabilities;
(2) the need for regular eye exams is clear - once every two years as a matter of principle, once every year when necessary;
(3) not all retinal tears must be patched;
(4) RD from head trauma is not uncommon - with long latency as well; and most important,
(5) retinal tears do not affect central vision - patients must instead pay attention to appearance of photopsia and floaters.